So the Liberal Democrat vision for UK politics is one of coalition where the LibDems are the constant factor ("SNP 'does not know meaning of independence in practice'", The Herald, September 16)?

Well, that would be a major change for the UK - and for Scotland in its present devolved state. There is little doubt that the Westminster regime of recent decades has not been fit for purpose.

Both major parties have progressively become moribund - the Tories after the 1990s and Labour from the late 2000s. The LibDems have simply been ineffective. No-one has any real idea of how to proceed "post crash". Perhaps Mr Clegg's contribution has been to recognise this and see permanent "coalition" as the way forward. There is nothing wrong with this idea, indeed the political systems of many European countries operate this way.

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If this new landscape of UK politics catches on - and it could appeal to non-aligned English voters - it will play out around the time of the 2015 election and develop during the next Parliament. How might such a realignment - essentially in England, because the Tory element is effectively absent here - affect Scotland?

Pollsters and pundits alike have said that a big game-changer for the independence referendum could be a big boost for a Yes vote in 2014 if there was likely to be a majority Tory government at Westminster in 2015. Such a notion would be less likely if the idea of a LibDem coalition with either party catches on.

Scottish voters might say: "Oh well, a No vote and then five more years of LibDem-Tory coalition at Westminster seems a safe option." Yes campaigners might reply: "The first coalition brought England the effective privatisation of the NHS (and now a private Royal Mail for us too?) and the bedroom tax for the whole UK". What do Herald readers make of this new development?

Jim Morrison,

30 Pendicle Road,


Danny Alexander's claim that the United Kingdom is "the most successful alliance between countries in world history" is the usual Lib-Dem mix of disingenuousness and mendacity. He omitted to add - "for the winner, England". The latter secured its northern border and a ready supply of human and natural resources, freeing it up to conquer large parts of the globe and exploit those in turn.

Many Scots, of course, willingly joined in that exploitation and made fortunes; many more went across the oceans unwillingly, to their death in a far off land, ("'Tis little mischief if they fall," said General Wolfe as his Highlanders performed the "impossible" task of storming the Heights of Abraham).

The UK is one of the most unequal countries in the developed word. Poverty sits at about 25% and roads, housing, education and health are substandard compared with European and Scandinavian neighbours. Perhaps Alexander and his Better Together chums will explain what is "better" and what is "successful" about those statistics?

I believe the Yes Campaign has foresworn "negative" campaigning. If this means they will not take the gloves off when dealing with the lies and fearmongering of perfidious Albion, then I fear they will fail Scotland.

David Roche,

1 Alder Grove,


Sir Robert Smith's bill ("MP tackles excessive delivery charges", The Herald, September 14) is welcome, as is the UK Government's pledge to hold a summit to find ways to protect the many Scottish consumers affected. This was announced by Jo Swinson, the Consumer Affairs Minister.

I wonder how many delegates to the Liberal Democrat conference know that 20% extra is levied on the distribution element of every electricity bill for consumers in the old Hydro Electric Board area north of Glasgow and including all of Argyll? That covers 50% of Scotland and includes the cities of Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

This is a really punitive measure now suffered by those of us in the coldest and windiest part of the UK. It is entirely due to the way the UK electricity industry was privatised.

Both these inequalities should give the UK Government cause for deeper thought over their plans to privatise Royal Mail. The Universal Service Obligation (if it can even be sustained), does not cover prices for larger items such as parcels. I wonder if one stable door is being patched up at the same time as another is being carelessly unbolted?

RJ Ardern,

26A Southside Road,